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Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* are taking the reins & bringing us the good stuff. This week they got to check out the Worcester Center for Crafts.

xoxox,
Apple

If you’re unfamiliar with Worcester, you’d probably have no idea what magical kingdom exists at 25 Sagamore Road. Worcester Center for Crafts is housed in a lengthy brick building near WPI and is a community that welcomes all artists (both experienced and inexperienced) to practice their craft. The organization welcomes anyone to join their community to learn art skills, refresh their arts background, and unite with a wonderful association of creators.

Sarah and I were thrilled to visit Worcester Center for Crafts, and had a wonderful time meeting Honee Hess – the Executive Director with an inspiring spirit. Honee gave us a tour around the facility and offered us background information about the organization. Worcester Center for Crafts has grown immensely over the past century and a half through its ups and downs. It was first established in 1856 in order to provide learning opportunities in the field of crafts, resulting in more job opportunities to sell and create crafts. Since its origin, Worcester Center for Crafts has relayed the importance of crafts in everyday life – whether it be for personal or professional reasons.

Our tour started off in the Gallery Store, where a multitude of jewelry, paintings, dishware, and other crafts were on display and available for purchase. Sarah and I both admitted that we were tempted to buy basically everything in the store. Most of the crafts for sale had been made in Worcester Center for Craft’s studios. The Gallery Store is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Next, we checked out the Krikorian Gallery, which features beautiful photographs and paintings by local artists. When we visited the gallery was exhibiting art by female artists, which was inspiring and moving to both hear about and see. I would have spent hours admiring the creations in the gallery if I could, but 10 minutes was enough to realize how amazing the works of art are.

The Sagamore Street campus includes Worcester State studios, where Worcester State students take their studio art classes – a successful integration of  two important elements in the community. We were also excited to see the ceramics studio, a spacious spot with tons of natural light where numerous artists were hard at work. The Glass Studio is located across town, so unfortunately we weren’t able to check out the location on the same day. However, if you’re interested in visiting, the Glass Studio is located at 35B New Street in Worcester.

Whether you’re looking to take classes, visit the Gallery Store, see the work exhibited in the  Krikorian Gallery, or pay a visit to a staff of inspirational and moving people, the Worcester Center for Crafts is a great spot. You won’t be disappointed. The administrative hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Stay crafty!
~Alli

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

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Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* are taking the reins & bringing us the good stuff. This week they were treated to a tour of local art staple, Arts Worcester.

xoxox,
Apple

ArtsWorcester is a delicious little art-filled organization, located in the renovated Aurora – a hotel that once existed in the heart of Main Street. The non-profit organization works to showcase the art of locals, and publicize the importance of the arts within the community. Most importantly, they encourage artists of all skills and ages to be a part of the thriving association, which unifies over the enjoyment of art.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, Sarah and I made our way to 660 Main Street (after taking a few wrong turns). We were welcomed enthusiastically upon our arrival by executive director Juliet Feibel. Juliet took us on an extensive tour of the downstairs gallery, introduced us to the staff (including Scarlett Hoey and Tim Johnson), and gave us a run-through of the history of the organization and building.

ArtsWorcester was founded in 1979 by a group of artists and supporters, who originally named it the Cultural Assembly of Greater Worcester. After changing the home base of the organization multiple times, its headquarters and main galleries now reside in the old Aurora Hotel. ArtsWorcester has always been known for its celebration of the arts, and is eager to promote artists of all sorts. While touring the gallery located in the basement of the building, I was shocked to see the multitude of styles that each exhibiting artist portrayed. There were artfully carved sculptures, water color paintings massive in size, detailed still life paintings, simple drawings, and intricately designed ceramics. After noting each work of art, you can comparatively conclude that no two artists are alike at ArtsWorcester.

The exhibiting artists contribute to a huge part of the success at ArtsWorcester. Worcester artists are constantly seeking to display their work in the accompanying galleries. There are 3 main galleries extended from ArtsWorcester, including The Aurora, The Hanover, and The Hadley. The Aurora is the main gallery, and is located at the main location of ArtsWorcester, at 660 Main Street. The Hadley is right across the street from the Aurora location, at 657 Main Street. And the Hanover is located at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Becoming a part of ArtsWorcester is a piece of cake (Wayne Thiebaud…anyone?) and a membership makes a variety of artist opportunities possible. With an ArtsWorcester membership, you’ll have the chance to exhibit your art, receive feedback on it, learn from other artist members, and establish lasting relationships with artist in your community. Exhibiting artist memberships are $55, Dual-Artist Household memberships are $90, Student Artist memberships are $20, and memberships for Worcester college students are free! Financial assistance can also be applied to, which helps artists who are in need financial support to afford the membership. A few membership perks include exhibiting work in members-only shows, complimentary entry to Artist Business Skills Workshops, discounts at C.C. Lowell, and 60% commission from personal gallery sales. I’m also happy to say that I requested a membership following our meeting with Juliet, and I’m now a proud member of ArtsWorcester!

To check out the gallery, find out more information about a membership, or visit an awesome spot in Worcester, head to 660 Main Street (or the Hanover/Hadley locations).

  ~Alli

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

doll20parts_zpsoei23o2mSo… Looking at this project from the front and kind of far away, without anything in hand and just the paper dollies stop-motion trailer from last year under my belt, it looked like simply A Good Time. A little closer up, sitting on the orange rug in the office, surrounded by ripped open bags of secondhand Barbi, Bratz, and a variety of other unidentified dolls* from the thrift store, it still looked like fun, albeit somewhat complicated fun – there was a problem to solve, and I generally like a problem to solve, especially when it involves clay, dictionary pages, ink, and glue. And over the course of a few weeks, with the generous application of all of those (delicious) supplies** our models emerged at last, rabbit-headed and incredibly tippy,*** but creepily darling in their own right.

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And then I had no idea what to do about it. Because that’s kind of how I work, right? I write novels without outlines,† I push things into motion sometimes (ok, often) with only a general plan, and I have been known to go on a spending spree at the craft store just because I want to touch all the things to find out how they feel. A friend once asked me what I thought my defining drive/emotion was, and for me it came down to Curiosity. This is to say, my inner critic is strong, but she also often gets squashed down by my inner six-year-old, who just wants to know How Things Work.

Ok, so I had a clue: I knew that Picasa would crunch pictures for me once they were amassed. I knew that we would need something stable to hold the camera while we took a brazillionty†† pictures for Picasa to crunch. I knew that lighting was going to be A Thing. And I knew that keeping track of two figurines, specifically, which leg of which figurine was going in which direction during micro-movements, was going to be a little tricky.††† I also knew that we were going to need to build a set that not only looked nice, but accommodated some really top-heavy movie stars.‡ And so, armed with an idea, we dug in to make a trailer.

Here’s how it went, bullet-point style:

– We opted for the iPad to take the pictures, because it does a better job than my phone. Also, I do not own any high-end camera equipment.

– We moved two six-foot tables into our space – one for the set, and one parallel to it for a workspace & camera. There was about a foot and a half between the two. We masking-taped the floor around the feet to mark the tables in case any of us bumped them, so we could move them back if need be. Also we duct taped a couple of the feet down and prayed it wouldn’t pick up the finish upon removal. (We got lucky there \o/)

– Books books books. And tiny birds. And dominoes. And the tiny model trees I had always wanted to buy but had no reason to buy, and a birdhouse, and some bitty paper apples. Dictionary paper, a watch key, and a bunch of fat produce rubberbands, cut into strips, to keep the slidy stuff in place – we built a set. A really cool set \o/
PRO TIP: Take reference shots. Things will move as you move all the, well, moving parts. It’s really good to know where they were before they moved. Also, if you have cats where you work, reference shots are invaluable. (SPOILER: we have 3 cats. We also employed a barricade overnight because Gunther likes the way Barbi hands feel against his fancy fancy teeth. Project board worked really well. G’bless the science fair, y’all.)

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– We set up lamps. We broke a lamp. We agreed we needed more lighting. We bought two cheap clip lamps (cheap clip lamps are The Best! Just, you know, make sure you have something to clip them to.) and a pack of 100-watt bulbs from HoDo. We moved in a couple power strips. We adjusted and adjusted and adjusted, and sighed and decided to humor one particular set of shadows in favor of dulling a big shiny reflection on the pretty green wall. In retrospect, we probably could have benefited from a string of LED Christmas tree lights taped strategically behind the set.

– We stuck the iPad on a couple books and boxes (and a tiny side table), and strapped that mess together with masking tape.
PRO TIP: I picked up a pack of foam popsicle stick looking things, initially to place between books to keep them from sliding. They were sort of ok for that, but not as good as the rubberbands. What they were REALLY good for, tho’, was as shims – we used them to keep pretty much everything level. And by everything, I mean the camera setup – we slid some under the iPad case, we slid some under the tiny side table, we popped a couple in under a book when the shot looked a little off.

– We applied generous amounts of modeling clay to the feet of our dollies to provide some support. This really worked out really badly. We revised our approach.
PRO TIP: if you want to get something to stay in place, the intuitive leap to modeling clay is great only in theory. Pick up some sticky-tac. You know, the stuff you use to hang up posters without cocking up the semi-gloss on your walls? It is AMAZING in these situations. Truly, I cannot praise the stuff enough for on-set shenanigans – with the sticky-tac we were able to make our models go where we wanted without having to employ balancing tricks; we just sort of, well, stuck stuff to other stuff where we wanted them to be and shot quickly. Hello, I ♥ sticky-tac.

– Team Salli posed the models, ducked out of the frame, and I shot. Pose, duck, shoot, pose, duck, shoot, pose, duck, shoot. Sometimes I posed and ducked and one of them shot. We did that for roughly 250 pictures – Good Times.

– And I let Picasa crunch the pictures: you select your pix from the files, tell it to make a movie, use the time-lapse option around 1/9 (play with it – you may find you like 1/10 or 1/8), and export that business. Afterward I popped it into Windows Movie Maker and added some music and fades, and voila! My friends, we have a trailer =)

For more information about Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, check out www.rabbitheartpoetry.com

Also! If you’re poking around looking for info on making a film with practically no budget, check out the Rabbit Heart Pinterest page, How-To Tuesday for Rabbit Heart, where we’ve collected all kinds of good links for you <6

***

*Some of which were unidentifiable because they were missing a head, or were only a head. The thrift store sells them in plastic bags that seem to have been scooped roughly out of a bin marked Random Doll Parts. Or maybe a dumpster behind a daycare. Anyway, the contents are all mismatched and really ought to be washed down before too much handling. I, natch, spilled them out on the rug and decided to wash my hands really well afterward. Before I vacuumed.

**And paperclips (to hold on the ears). And a multitool (gogo Leatherman!) There’s most of a Skipper doll inside the little bun – some bits needed to be trimmed. Honestly, the most difficult part of the transformation was getting the hair off the dollies so that the air-dry Crayola clay would stick to the doll.
And on that note, I must once again mention (I know you’ve heard me say this before): Behold the humble glue stick. Your materials almost never need to be expensive, they just need to do the job. Stuff we used for this project included wood glue, an $8 glue gun, Elmer’s glue sticks, used toys, a sheet of sticky tack, roughly-used dictionaries, a couple of $6 clip lamps (the bulbs were pricier than the lamps!), and kids’ craft air-dry clay. Stay simple, y’all.

***Some of this is down to the user. I was never a kid who played with dollies. Our interns, Alli & Sarah (whom I have been known to refer to fondly as Team Salli) were able to get them both to stand up with far less stress than I.

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†Admittedly, the last one took me 10 years to complete. I’m not proud of that, I just can’t seem to stick to an outline. In my own defense, I did write four short stories and a chapbook worth of poems that applied to the same universe in that time.

††FWIW, there are easily a Brazillion Portugese speakers on the Ragnaros realm in World of Warcraft. And I have pugged with a fair number of them.

†††This is where having two interns was particularly great – one dolly per intern really helped!

‡Sidenote: there’s a serious riot grrrl rant in here somewhere about how dolls marketed to boys, action figures, stand up better than dolls marketed to girls. But since I did happen to add a shitton of weight & counter-intuitive-balanced ears to the figures (not to mention, encased Skipper in an super unnatural position inside that small bunny), this is probably neither the time nor place.

Sister Corita nailed it:

Thinking about road tripping to Pittsburgh or Cleveland this spring.

todays

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